All News Is Not the Same: Divergent Effects of News Platforms on Civic and Political Participation
Online news platforms are often grouped together as “online news” or “social media,” yet each delivers news in a distinctive way. This article examines different online news platforms—including legacy news organization website and news apps, instant messaging services (WhatsApp), Facebook, and YouTube—and observes that each contributes differently to civic engagement and political participation. Based on a cross-sectional survey of Singaporeans (n = 2,501), our study finds that watching news stories on social media platforms such as Facebook or YouTube is strongly correlated with engagement in civic or political life via information seeking and expressive behaviors online. Viewing news on traditional news websites or news apps was still impactful, but slightly less so. Viewing news through instant messaging apps had no impact on civic and political engagement. We discuss the implications of consuming news via different online platforms through the lens of technological affordances.